After much prayer and discernment, discussion and working in partnership across parishes, the launch of the first Minster Community, in Launde, will take place on Sunday, 30 April.
The celebratory service and commissioning of Oversight Minister will be held at St Peter’s Church, Tilton on the Hill, at 3pm.
Launde area is one of three pilot areas journeying through the Minster Community process, alongside North East Leicester, and Coalville and surrounding villages.
A Minster Community is a designated group of parishes, fresh expressions of church, and schools brought together collectively for mission.
In October 2021 our Diocesan Synod agreed the new Minster Communities framework for our diocese, with Bishop Martyn saying: “What we are trying to do is to resource local churches such that they can serve their local communities. I believe that Minster Communities offer the opportunity for churches to grow and flourish. We know growth is the gift of God. It’s God’s work to grow the church and we seek only to respond and work with God.”
In the Minster Community process everyone has a choice, PCCs have a choice, and in Launde, they have said a resounding ‘yes’ to this process. It’s been a journey, with lots of good work and lots more to come, and as the launch date for Launde draws ever closer, people have been sharing their thoughts.
Hilary Painter is a Reader, ministering in the Gaulby Group, which is made up of four parish churches without an incumbent. She is also a member of the Minster Community Coordinating Group.
She says: “The journey so far: well, in many ways it began with the discussions around setting up the Launde Deanery, then Covid and most recently the Minster conversations. For those who chose to become involved there have been new friendships, new ways of working to be created and new people to welcome into the Deanery.
Hilary continues: “Challenges have included trying to encourage others to help shape our future. There’s a sense of achievement but also the knowledge that we’re approaching the end of the beginning.
“Being a hopeful sort, I’m looking forward to nurturing this rather tender plant and being part of its growth,” she says. “Major concerns are the need for one or two more ordained clergy, finance and the need to improve our communication skills so we can share more easily.”
Madeleine Wang worships in Tugby and is active in the Launde community. She is a member of Leicester Diocesan Synod, Lay Chair of the Launde Deanery, a Trustee of the Leicester Diocesan Board of Finance, and a member of Bishop's Council.
Madeleine recognises that it has been hard working getting to ‘launch’ stage, but it’s been a joint effort, and they’re moving forwards together, in something that is ‘very worthwhile’. She says: “The journey continues: to strengthen and deepen relationships and friendships and to talk more about our faith and to listen more to what God is saying to us.
“I love meeting and getting to know people and am looking forward to more of this as we use the wonderful opportunity we have been given to work together to create a positive change in the way we do church.”